July 1, 2011 defpro.com
The U.S. Navy has exercised contract options funding the construction of the sixth and seventh Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV), as part of a ten-vessel program potentially worth over US$1.6 billion. The construction contract for both vessels is valued at approximately US$313 million.
Austal Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Bellamy, noted that this contract demonstrates the U.S. Navy’s confidence in Austal as a leading defence prime contractor.
“With options remaining for a further three vessels, the JHSV program is expected to deliver a predictable revenue stream of AUD$330 million per annum from 2012 to 2015, which is approximately 60 per cent of Austal’s historical revenue.”
As prime contractor, Austal was awarded the construction contract for the first 103-metre JHSV in November 2008, with options for nine additional vessels between FY09 and FY13. The Austal JHSV team includes platform systems engineering agent General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems who is responsible for the design, integration and testing of the ship’s mission systems, including internal and external communications, electronic navigation, and aviation and armament systems.
Austal received authorisation from the Navy to start construction on the first vessel of the contract, Spearhead (JHSV 1), in December 2009 after completing the rigorous design over a 12-month period. Spearhead is scheduled for launch in August 2011 and delivery in December 2011. Construction on Vigilant (JHSV 2), began at Austal’s Mobile, Alabama, USA shipyard on September 13, 2010.
Austal USA’s President and Chief Operating Officer Joe Rella remarked, “this award facilitates the continued development and growth of our U.S. operations, as well as the expansion of our Alabama workforce from over 2,000 to nearly 4,000."
Austal is also currently building a second Independence-variant 127-metre Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) for the U.S. Navy, Coronado (LCS 4), which is scheduled for launch in September 2011. As prime contractor, Austal recently received a U.S. Navy contract for construction of up to an additional 10 Littoral Combat Ships, including Jackson (LCS 6) and Montgomery (LCS 8), to be appropriated in the following five years, with a total value in excess of $3.5 billion. Once commissioned, these 10 vessels will join the Austal-built USS Independence (LCS 2) which was commissioned in January 2010.